I have a CD Sirocco and want to learn to roll this summer. As is, my hips barely make contact with the sides of the seat. If I were to outfit with minicell, how snug do I want my hips to be for rolling? Is the main contact for keeping you in your boat upside down at the thigh/knees?
Knees against thighbraces
Knees against thighbraces mostly.
It's possible that more padding at your hips might be better. Being too tight might hinder paddling though and it might make it uncomfortable on longer trips.
Not too tight
You want enough room at the hips for good rotation when paddling etc… but not so much room that you noticably slide side to side when rolling. Good thigh contact maybe most important.
Snug but not tight. Although in one of
my boats where the hips are held tight, I don’t find it impeding normal forward stroking. It’s not necessarily the amount of torso twist, it’s the active use of the torso in the early part of the stroke.
It seems like racers (for example) also rotate a bit in the seat when pushing with their legs. Thus, it’s possible that one would lose some efficiency with a tight fit.
People can lock their hips into the boat but it isn’t necessary (for sea kayaking).
I agree… snug but not tight. I am so
tall that I have lots of torso to twist, and with a high angle style, perhaps less need for a full twist. But even if I were trying to push alternately with the legs like flatwater racers, I would want the sides of the seat just brushing my hips. Just snug but not tight.
make sure you are wearing the most
gear you would possibly wear in the coldest conditions. If you build hip pads in the middle of summer they will be too tight when the weather gets cooler.
Try it first
I have the same boat. Worry about the padding later. Once you start hitting those rolls, you may find it unnecessary.
In a touring boat…
…you only need enough padding to keep you from sliding side-to-side in the cockpit. Simple flat pads, tapered on the top for ease of entry is all you need. You definitely don’t want the deep hip hooks that whitewater paddlers use.
I glued neoprene pockets to the seat
sides of one of my kayaks, so I could insert or remove pads depending on season and bulk of clothing. Works well.
Not the main contact
For me at least, the thigh braces take over more of that function. BUT the hip pads definitely help. I have two kayaks, one with 21" beam and one with 21.5" beam. The wider of the two provides much better contact/control, because it includes both better thigh braces AND it has nicely-shaped hip pads (the skinnier boat does not). I think the skinnier boat is actually a bit easier to roll as far as shape goes, but its lesser outfitting handicaps it.
Can you comfortably hold your kayak on edge? If not, then add hip pads. Otherwise, paddle it some more and try learning to roll without modifying it at first.
BTW, I don't like "knee braces." The thigh braces work much better when they really are THIGH braces--at least a few inches above the knees.
Thanks for the advice and ideas.